[Originally published in Ready Readers: Middle School Literature, Vol. 1]
J.R.R.Tolkien’s engrossing tale of Bilbo Baggins and his quest through Middle Earth is a rare literary phenomenon: a book that has achieved true classic status less than a century after its publication. But classic it is, by any definition of the term. Bilbo’s journey from the safety of the Shire to unknown terrors under the Lonely Mountain captivates young readers whileexploring dozens of universal themes. Fear and courage, greed and selflessness, pride and humility – all these ideas and more find eloquent treatment in Tolkien’s lyrical prose. In the grand tradition of the Iliad, Hamlet, Great Expectations and Huckleberry Finn, The Hobbit presents a hero with whom all readers can identify.